As most of you know, there are a variety of different methods to exercising; slow and steady, fast and intense or even a combination of the two; which leads us to HIIT. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is a repetitive series comprised of bursts of physical intensity, followed by slower recovery intervals. Numerous studies have shown that this type of training is one of the most effective ways to shed fat and burn calories. Why? Steady intense training is considered aerobic, in which cells burn oxygen in the blood for energy. HIIT training is actually anaerobic, meaning the intervals don’t rely exclusively on oxygen for energy and derive a great deal of energy from stored carbohydrates.
So, how does HIIT training relate to Kung Fu and specifically Choy Lay Fut?
Choy Lay Fut is one of the faster Southern styles of Kung Fu; therefore practitioners need not only to memorize steps but to develop their stamina and cardiovascular health in order to perform correctly. Choy Lay Fut forms are quick, explosive and intense. In general they last anywhere from 45 seconds to over a minute. When learning a form, students are taught to master their moves through slow, concise repetition, working at perhaps 50% of their physical capability. As more of the form is learned, students will need to increase their intensity, working their way up to their own 100%. …Sounds like an interval right! Now you can see where training your body and mind to be able to go from one speed to the next, one output level to another can help prepare you for executing your forms!
So how can you apply the HIIT method to mastering your forms?
- Separate the form you are working on into 3 or 4 sections
- Work through the first section at roughly 50% of your capability, focusing primarily on your stances, kicks, punches and of course, BREATHING!
- Now repeat the same section at 90% of your ability, keeping in mind you still need to use proper movements, don’t let fast equal sloppy!
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 a minimum of 5 times, alternating between slow and controlled to faster and more explosive.
- Move on to the next section, repeat the HIIT method and continue this process until you have made it through the entire form.
- Rest for 1 minute and work through your entire routine, without break, at approximately 90%, rest for 1 minute and repeat 2 more times.
There you go! You just trained Kung Fu using the HIIT method. Not only did you use an effective way to learn how to build up your speed and agility but you also burned more calories and fat than if you were just repeating your training at one consistent level of intensity. With the HIIT method, even when you’re resting, because you have consumed both oxygen and carbohydrates, in trying to get back to its normal state of rest, your body will continue to burn calories and fat and a higher level than if you had just done a regular aerobic workout. So sit back with your healthy smoothie and know you just nailed 2 workouts in one!